2.8 Viewport Colors missing Specular and Alpha

Hi there:)

As I was trying working in 2.80 more and more on production stuff I keep regretting the changes made to solid shading mode especially when it comes to Alpha. In archviz you have a lot of glass panels and it’s very handy to see what’s behind them but still know they are there. I was using the Alpha in the Viewport Display in 2.79 and then turning on Transparent per Object but this is gone?

And next thing is Specular which is gone now. I regret this too because I’ve found a cool way to set up viewport colors to best resemble metallic materials in 2.79.

The trick is to exceed values of 1.000 in Specular while keeping Diffuse (Color in 2.79) not bright and that approach gives you metallic looking viewport materials.

However in 2.8 Specular is missing altogether and the new Metallic and Roughness don’t do a thing for the viewport even though the tab is called “Viewport Display” it seems these are just used for the PrincipledBSDF created in the background when no Material is set up.

Here you can see a copper material in Solid Shading in 2.79 and 2.8.

Diffuse R: 0.430 G: 0.120 B: 0.060
Specular: R: 12.830 G: 3.470 B: 0.316
Hardness: 30

Diffuse R: 0.430 G: 0.120 B: 0.060

I’ve also made an entire material library using this pretty cool feature I plan to release soon and it just doesn’t look as good in 2.80. Especially check Metals at the top and transparent materials in 6 and 7.


2.79 solid shading viewport:

2.80 solid shading viewport:

Can the full Viewport Display control return? I suppose it was removed and not replaced when moving over to the new OpenGL rendering so this is maybe more like a bug than intended.

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It’s not missing, you can enable 3D Viewport > Shading menu > Specular Highlights.

Ah great but what about the Alpha? That one actually is really problematic because of abundance of glass in all of archviz.

I was trying to get the same look with slightly yellow highlights but since there is only one Color setting it’s not possible.

Much better than no specular highlights but a slight degradation to previous freedom.

I enjoyed creating materials with 2 shades like green and blue with hardness of 5 which looked great. Not necessarily metallic, this is for example nice for leaves on a plant or a tree.

Is it possible to have this back or does the current solution not allow it at all?


2.8 Solid Shading + Specular Highlights

@brecht Please can I get a short reply here concerning Alpha and if it’s possible to have Specular Color in Viewport Display again?

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It’s unlikely specular color will come back, the decision was made to go with the basic PBR material model.

For alpha in workbench I don’t have an answer at the moment.

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Workbench is not meant to be as flexible as old viewport (at least regarding materials).

I would argue that setting materials the way we did in the pas is very time consuming and unintuitive. Lack of energy conservation was making rounghess adjustment tedious as you would have to counter balance the specular power.

As for alpha in workbench, it is not currently supported. It may use the Xray display at one point on top of regular solid workbench only for alpha blender objects.

While I think having Specular Color option would be great simply for having more freedom it’s not that much important to me. I’m just sad to see such little features I used very often go away but I know that it might be tedious for a lot of users.

Hardest part of this is checking “Transparent” in Object tab in Properties after using Alpha in the Viewport Color … a lot of people I was showing this to miss that.

And I think many people actually had no idea that the values can exceed 1. It’s very good for mesh light materials so that they always shine through everything (just like when rendered).

The Alpha is a must have though and will be heard about more and more as people actually start to use Blender 2.8 in their archviz scenes or environmental design so could be good to just sort out rather sooner than later.

Here is the difference:

Alpha OFF

Alpha ON


I appreciate you go with modern trends here in terms of deciding for PBR viewport shading, but lack of the “good old” specular highlights really bothers when modeling. They were great help to track topology flow and curvature, and the new specular highlights are weak in that respect. Can you introduce a multiplier of a sort to blow it up a bit?

You can tweak your the studiolight setup in the system preference. There is a specular color (and thus multiplier) for each light.

Much obliged, did not know that. I will explore the entire studio setup system, looks promising.